ST. LOUIS (CN) – A woman claims an “utterly incompetent” police officer failed to search her late sister’s home after questioning her estranged husband about her disappearance – leaving her to find her sister hung by a cord in her basement with a bullet hole in her head.
Plaintiff M.W. claims Wentzville police officer Calvin Nevels went to her sister’s house on Jan. 15, 2009 to follow up on a domestic disturbance call.
Nevels spoke with the husband, Kelly Blanchard, who told him that they were getting a divorce and that she was acting crazy and threatened to kill herself, according to the complaint.
“Also in plain view of Defendant Nevels was a smashed computer,” the complaint states. “Had Nevels searched or asked, he would have learned that Mr. Blanchard’s wife’s purse, cell phone, car keys, and only winter coat, were in the house. The wife’s car was located four (4) houses up the street, which defendant Nevels passed to both enter and exit the subdivision.”
M.W. says Nevels went back to the house and asked the husband if he was missing any weapons. The husband told him one of his handguns was missing, and went downstairs, as Nevels stayed upstairs, according to the complaint.
“The basement of the residence was an open area with a gun cabinet, and a washer and dryer next to each other,” the complaint states. “Mr. Blanchard’s wife was hanging from the floor joists by a cord, in plain view, above a pool of dried blood, with a .22 caliber bullet through her head, and the handgun lying at her feet.
“Mr. Blanchard returned upstairs and told Defendant Nevels nothing about his wife. Defendant Nevels never entered the basement the second time he was at the residence. Defendant Nevels informed Mr. Blanchard he would place a missing person’s report on his wife, and then left the residence.”
M.W. says she discovered her sister after going to the home herself. She says the Wentzville police determined the death to be a suicide and no criminal charges were brought against Blanchard, whom police decided was “merely negligent in not disclosing the presence of his wife’s body.”
M.W. claims that “Nevels’ conduct was so utterly incompetent, reckless and deliberately indifferent to the safety and well-being of others, that a state created danger existed to those who would seek to locate and rescue plaintiff’s sister.”
She says she has suffered horror and shock and has been needed medical to deal with the trauma of discovering her sister’s body.
M.W. seeks damages for negligence, from the city and from Nevels. She is represented by Larry Bagsby of St. Charles.
Wentzville is 40 miles west of St. Louis.